I had a great breakfast business meeting this week with two leaders who are energized and focused on growing a line of business within their company. Through our discussions we realized that our service offerings were complementary and that I had an expertise that would add value to their competitive advantage and that their niche and client base could create prospects for my business. We had the makings of a ‘win win’ situation and decided to discuss further if there was truly a mutually beneficial strategic alliance in our working together.
A strategic alliance is an agreement between two or more parties to pursue a set of agreed upon objectives while remaining independent organizations (Wikipedia). There are many different types of alliances that businesses can make some are conventional and others are strategic. An alliance can be between colleagues, peers or businesses.
Alliances are very important for business success as they allow a business to expand its product or service offerings without having to invest or take a risk in developing this expertise or niche on their own.
Jason Wakeam’s article in the Ivey Business Journal defined an alliance as strategic if any one of the following criteria are met:
The alliance is:
Alliances between colleagues need to be in the best interest of the company’s goals and the manager’s goals. These alliances can be helpful and supportive as they can take the form of mentoring. They can also be beneficial for moving action plans forward and improving cross functional team alignment. Alliances are not a ‘cliques’ which are solely self-serving and can breed gossip or other negative behaviours and have a negative effect on company culture.
Through my discussions at my breakfast meeting we discussed how our alliance would contribute to our core business objectives (for both of us to grow our business), development of a competitive advantage for them and development of a core competency for me. Based on the criteria above we have the beginnings of a great “strategic alliance”!
Please share your thoughts on great or not so great alliances you may have been involved in…
Stay tuned for an upcoming blog on how to identify which types of people or businesses to form strategic alliances with…